Pakistan second most dangerous country for journalists, states UNESCO report
Islamabad, May 3 (ANI): A new report released by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has ranked Pakistan as "the second most dangerous country for journalists the world over".
According to The Dawn, the report titled 'Safety and the danger of Impunity' says there has been a dramatic increase in the number of media staffers killed in Pakistan in the last two years, with the tally rising from six to 16.
Mexico, it claims, is the worst affected country in the period as far as risk for the journalists' fraternity is concerned.
President Asif Ali Zardari said the liberalisation of media in Pakistan owed a great deal to the struggle of the journalists and the support given to it by Pakistan People's Party (PPP) no matter whether it was in government or in opposition.
The president further said the government believed in providing genuine access to information for the sake of transparency and accountability and had decided to repeal the old Ordinance of 2002, and bring in a new Act of the Parliament in consultation with all stakeholders.
However, statistics compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) states that as many as 42 journalists have been killed in Pakistan since 1992.
An in-depth analysis of the UNESCO report reveals a worrying proportion of freelance journalists among the victims. Nearly 20 per cent of the toll consisted of freelancers who faced more danger than regular staffers.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) President Pervaiz Shaukat pleaded that media will not accept any sort of curbs since it has rendered sacrifices. He said the PFUJ has submitted proposal to the government for setting up a Press Complaint Commission and demanded that the government should now consider it seriously.
The UN has endorsed a 'Plan of Action' on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, led by UNESCO which aims at creating a free and safe environment for journalists and media workers in both conflict and non-conflict situations, with a view to strengthening peace, democracy and development worldwide.
"The safety of journalists is essential to upholding Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that guarantees the right to freedom of expression," says UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. (ANI)
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